October 14, 2019

At home with Amy McInerney

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Tell us about your move to New Zealand. What is the one thing that surprised you most about living in New Zealand?

I was surprised about how much it put life into perspective for us and the lessons it has taught us. Initially, I was not keen to leave Australia. I'd always thought New Zealand was a stunningly beautiful place. I'd even joked about moving here a few times. But I loved my life, I loved living in Australia and I had worked hard worked towards a life plan that did not involve moving to a house up the street - let alone to another country.  Since moving to New Zealand, I've learnt not to be so attached to my plans because changing them can bring unexpected and wonderful things. Life is calmer and we enjoy more of the everyday stuff together. I've had new career opportunities. Our boys are growing up in a smaller, safer environment. They have more freedom and living here is instilling a real sense of community in our whole family and I really love that about our new life. Perhaps most of all, I was surprised about how the New Zealand community is so welcoming. The people we've met and the friends we've made are what has made our move to New Zealand one that we won't ever regret.

You have recently bought and renovated. What advice would you give to anyone about to embark on a renovation?

If you're renovating to make a family home, always keep in mind that it's exactly that - your family's home. We are flooded with renovation inspiration on social media and it can become overwhelming. There are so many ideas to fall in love with and it is so easy to get so 'deep' into a renovation that you lose all perspective of what you're trying to create. I wanted my family home to be a reflection of my family and I wanted it to feel like home. My advice is to have a clear vision of what feels like home to your family - and stick to it. And keep reminding yourself that your family is what makes your house feel like home, more than anything else. So, particularly when stress levels peak, be kind to each other and take some time out to have fun together.

I'd also suggest that people spend time thinking about what they love about their house, as it is. For me, above all else, we loved the view out over the hills and to the ocean. Having that sense of space, so close to the beach, is very special to us and something we never dreamed of being able to enjoy. So, we made sure the view was the real hero of our renovation and were happy to invest in lots of large windows to make the most of it, even though it meant we had to hold off on finishing some parts of the renovation. It's something we haven't regretted because waking up to the sun rising over the ocean and seeing the colours change, over the seasons, has made getting out of bed during the cold New Zealand mornings a lot easier.

What's your favourite fragrance?

My favourite is definitely the Sea Salt fragrance; it reminds me of Australia.

Describe your style?

I've always loved to wear things like cut off Levis with floaty cotton blouses and jumpsuits but all that's had to change since living in NZ. These days, you'd more often see me in a pair of blue jeans a cosy knit. I do, however, get very excited when the weather warms up and I can throw on a dress and brave the cold ocean water for a swim.

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